2018-01-01 / Community

Our Best FRIENDS: Gus is a homebody who protects his family

D.K. CHRISTI


Gus is smart and has a loving nature. Gus is smart and has a loving nature. Gus is a white, fluffy Coton de Tulear, a homebody whose bark warns away strangers and lets his family know someone is coming near. He is particularly protective of his owner, Kathleen McGowan’s daughter Kayle Allen, and growls if he is sitting with her on the couch, warning everyone else to stay away.

When Allen isn’t home, Gus passes on his allegiance equally to other family members. According to McGowan, the name “Gus” is attributed to several sources: Gus in the television show “Psych,” Gus from “Cinderella” and Gus in a movie about a cattle drive. The family chose a strong male name for a dog that takes protection seriously for his small size, about 10 pounds.

His heritage holds a legend of adventure. According to the American Kennel Club, his breed’s poorly documented history includes the belief that Coton de Tulears are descendants of dogs who survived an ancient shipwreck near Madagascar and are named for the Port of Tulear. The Coton is known as the “Royal Dog of Madagascar.” Gus was purchased from a breeder in Oklahoma before McGowan moved to Naples.

“His cotton-like coat is made of hair, not fur,” said McGowan. “He doesn’t shed and is appreciated by people with allergies.” Her grandson has allergies but is not allergic to Gus who enjoys the grandchildren, jumping on their beds in the morning to wake them.

A seasoned traveler, Gus accompanied his owner in the cabin of the plane from Oklahoma to Naples and is a good traveler for short or long trips by car. He is crate trained and content to stay in his safe space while his owners are at work. “I can’t take him to work,” said McGowan. “He would bark at everyone.”

He does not like other dogs and does not go to the dog parks. He enjoys a walk but quickly lets other dogs know to stay away. “Isn’t that what we want our dogs to do – bark so we are alerted to danger?” said McGowan.

The pet store was the source for Gus’ favorite toy – a toy chicken that he hauls around the house. He also takes pleasure in chasing a ball.

“For us, Gus’ protective loyalty, his loving nature and his intelligence are important,” said McGowan. “Sometimes I think he senses our next move before we do and he understands many words.”

The American Kennel Club describes Gus’ winning personality as bright, happy-go-lucky, endlessly charming and born to be loved. Besides having a pure breed name that’s French, this fluffy white dog has another reason to feel like royalty. In Madagascar, the Coton even has been dis- played on postage stamps.

Our Best Friends

If you have a dog that you think is particularly wonderful, contact us at info@swspotlight.com and he or she could be the next dog featured in this column.

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